Lack of training on learning disability may contribute to avoidable deaths

By agency reporter
August 17, 2018

Almost a quarter of healthcare professionals have never attended training on how to meet the needs of patients with a learning disability, according to new research released to launch Mencap’s Treat Me Well campaign.

Treat Me Well calls for Government and NHS to ensure no healthcare professional can set foot in a hospital without proper training on learning disability.

The new research from YouGov and Freedom of Information Requests to NHS Trusts has revealed that healthcare professionals and hospital trusts have been failing to make simple, reasonable adjustments to the care of someone with a learning disability that are legal duties under the Equality Act 2010 and can save lives.

A significant proportion of healthcare professionals surveyed (45 per cent) believe a lack of proper learning disability training is contributing to the 1,200 avoidable deaths every year of people with a learning disability; that this issue does not receive enough attention from within the NHS (59 per cent); and that they would like more training specifically focussed on patients with a learning disability (66 per cent).

The YouGov survey of more than 500 healthcare professionals found that:

  • Over one in three (37 per cent) of healthcare professionals think the quality of healthcare received by patients with a learning disability is worse than that received by patients without a learning disability
  • Almost half (45 per cent) of healthcare professionals think that a lack of training on learning disability might be contributing to the avoidable deaths of people with a learning disability

Freedom of Information requests sent to NHS Foundation Trusts and English universities offering courses in medicine, or adult nursing revealed:

  • Almost half (47 per cent) of hospitals do not include information on learning disability in their induction training for clinical staff
  • Almost a quarter (22 per cent) of universities do not include training on making reasonable adjustments to the care of someone with a learning disability (which are a legal duty under the Equality Act.

* Read Treat Me Well: Simple adjustments make a big difference here

* Mencap https://www.mencap.org.uk/

* Disability Rights UK https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/

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